Saturday, June 14, 2014

An Intermediate experience

On Saturday afternoon, I decided to tackle the Intermediate trails which is 21km. I didn't know what I was letting myself into though and I was in for a big surprise as well.

Entering the course, my first obstacle was a very steep bridge with a very steep decline at the other side as well. I knew I had to tackle it with lots of speed and power powering the pedals. I did that standing. This is a picture which illustrate what I had to overcome.

The trail then lead through a deep single track ditch where no rider can pass each other running along the river. It lead up with a steep incline and then the next obstacle came. A steep decline with lots of rocks. I knew I would need to use my brakes constantly to climb down this decline while maneuvering the bikes tires through the rocks that stick out of the ground. Managed to successfully do that with VEE brakes. Yes, I don't have disk brakes. 

After this decline, there was another single track running along the side of the river. Here you needed to hold your bike steadily because losing control of your bike will result in you flying over the edge into river on the right hand side. 

The course continued with obstacles, inclines, declines and single tracks like these. After 7km my legs were tired and screaming for a break. So I decided to take the beginners trail back to the starting point. The beginner trails have very short (1m) sections which is rocky. Nothing to serious but with one of these combined with my very tired legs, I fell. The rocks made a deep hole in my shin. I could see the shin bone when I poured water on the would in field. It took me 10 minutes to stop the bleeding which profusely ran down my leg.

With the fall, my bikes handle bar cracked and the peddle bend. Need to see whether we can bend it back or buy a new one.  

It's Sunday morning and I still need to open the wound and see what's up with it. When this wound feels better, you'll find me on the trails again :)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

My MTB plan of action

I went to the trails again on the weekend. Many cyclists tell me that I should ride longer periods over weekends when one have more time but that's not my case.

In the week I have more time to ride. At this moment I can only manage an hour due to lower back pain and pain in the region of T8/9. Over weekends I have my husband which tags along which is great. In other words we spent time together on the bikes. It's more trails over the weekend where we two can practice our skills together rather than endurance as I am more fit than he is and he can't keep up on my endurance ride practices in the week.

So we came up with a plan.

In the week we will be built our fitness on the road by ourselves, due to me being more fit than hubby. On a Saturday he will do the 6km trail where I am going to start this coming Saturday with the 12km route. On Sundays me and hubby will both be doing the 6km together as a couple for the fun of it. To spent time together on the trails.

I think this is a brilliant plan. Saturdays we ride the distances we want and Sundays we spent it together. Afterwards we will go to my parents and drink a coffee with them on a Sunday afternoon. Our weekly check in :)

Yesterday I struggled because my pedals kept getting caught on some obstacles, rocks and roots along the way. I need to learn to keep the pedals in neutral position because I almost fell down when the pedals got caught. I've also conquered the running hill from where I fell over to the side due to not having enough momentum. That was a big accomplishment :)

Here's two photos I took along the way yesterday. Being a photographer as well, I can't resist the urge to stop and take some photos as well.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Logging km's

My ride started off with a little boy that wanted to take a photo of me on my bike with his phone. He even showed me the photo :)

Today I rode the road to log endurance.  To get cycling fit. I managed 14.7km in 1 hour & 4 minutes.  Covered more distance than last week.

I had one monster hill to climb. It went slow while the quads burned. My lower back tends to get tired and sore through out my rides.

Along the way I heard the most beautiful birds sing their songs. It's such a pleasure to experience things like these while outside and cycling.

I've passed some Army personnel as well, all waiting to be picked up for duty.

There was also a fellow MTB cyclist passing me at the speed of light. He went all out.  Was impressed. 

I've enjoyed the ride so much today. I am feeling my quads,  adductors (inner thighs) and glutes after today's ride. Feels good :)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Recently started

Hi there. My name is Marleen and I am a novice MTB rider.

I've only recently started, like 2-3 months back, with the mountain biking experience after my Coach (Personal trainer, bodybuilding coach) told me all about the sport he does which is mountain biking. I've found it so interesting and started looking into the sport via websites. I couldn't believe the amount of people who were enjoying this sport.

Then I bought my first bike in 15 years. The last time I rode a bike was when I was 16 years old and never again. I have to say that bikes in overall have changed so much in the last decade that it's all so new to me.

At this moment I am busy in building endurance. Logging time on my saddle on the road throughout the week and on weekends I am finding trails to ride.

This past weekend I've found myself at a local MTB trail site called The Big Red Barn. It was my very first time there. I couldn't believe the amount of riders coming and going. Even people with their families.

I'm always nervous when I start with something new or are at a new place. Don't know what to expect. Got my bike off the car rack, geared up and shifted my behind onto the saddle. Here we go!

Entered the park. Knew I will only start with the shortest course and followed the indicators. 99% of the course is single track. I struggled to get a handle on my bike especially on speed. There was a lot of zig-zag type of tracks and a few times one needed to ride through a narrow pathway through two trees. Almost rode into the trees :)

I've also fallen off a small incline. Did not have enough momentum to push up the incline, lost grip on the bike and fallen to the side. So I learn. Crossing of bridges was also much fun.

My goal is to ride a Sani2C or Jozi2C in a few years. I know that this is going to take a while, building endurance and learning the MTB skills. I have a very long way to go but as I go along, I will update here. So keep on following me and my MTB adventures.

A scene from the trails.